Teva Pharmaceutical and Pfizer said Monday they will launch generic versions of Pfizer’s erectile dysfunction drug Viagra at half the price in the U.S.
Market watchers here say, however, the price cut will have little impact on Korea, which already has 52 Viagra spin-offs in the market.
Unlike the U.S. market, where Pfizer’s Viagra (ingredient: sildenafil citrate) patents expire in April 2020, the Korean one is currently flooded with more than 50 copies produced by domestic pharmaceuticals.
The market for erectile dysfunction drugs has grown explosively since Pfizer’s patents expired in Korea in 2012. The popularity of this drug has led to even the creation of a black market filled with fake erectile dysfunction drugs.
The major Korean firms producing Viagra knock-offs include Hanmi, Daewoong, Il-yang, Kwangdong, and Dongkook Pharmaceuticals. JY Shinyak obtained the latest approval from the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety in June.
Generics produced in Korea are often one third the cost of Viagra, meaning they are already cheaper than the U.S. generics to be released soon.
“There is no news yet of release in the domestic market, but in Korea, there are already a lot of (Viagra) generics since (Pfizer’s) patents expired a long time ago,” a Hanmi Pharmaceutical spokesperson said. “If Pfizer does launch its generic in the market, then it will probably be one of the many generics currently sold.”
Hanmi’s erectile dysfunction copy drug Palpal currently holds the highest sales in Korea, selling more than double of Pfizer’s Viagra this year. Palpal topped the market with 22.13 billion won ($19.88 million) in sales, while Viagra posted 8.43 billion, according to market data.
The revenue of Hanmi’s “Gugu” (ingredient: tadalafil) also spiked to 13.98 billion won in the first three quarters this year, indicating a 49.2 percent increase year-on-year.
Viagra is a male erectile dysfunction drug developed by American pharmaceutical Pfizer and approved by the U.S. FDA in 1998. Originally developed as a treatment for hypertension, its effect on erectile dysfunction was discovered in clinical trials.
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